A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 13: Give Up, Take On, Pray

"You must before your God 
appear to Give an account of 
your transactions,
And how you spent your time, 
            when here.”
     ~ The Rev. Absalom Jones  1746-1818

     Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Sussex County, Delaware in 1746. When sold to a Philadelphia store owner at 16, he learned to read, write, and work for the wages that eventually allowed him to purchase his and his wife's freedom. The short version of his extensive biography is that he became the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church in the US, founded several churches, multiple organizations to aid freed and runaway slaves, and a Literary Circle. 

      His words above may sound trivial at first glance, but when measured against the institution of slavery these words become profound and should reverberate within us all.  
      On New Year's Day in 1808, Jones said the following in his sermon giving thanksgiving for the passage of the Abolition of African Slave Trade Act by the US Congress: 

Let not our expressions of gratitude to God for his late goodness and mercy to our countrymen, be confined to this day, nor to this house: let us carry grateful hearts with us to our places of abode, and to our daily occupations; and let praise and thanksgivings ascend daily to the throne of grace, in our families, and in our closets, for what God has done for our African brethren.

      His graciousness may be considered premature inasmuch as slavery itself was not abolished in the US for 55 more years. And so, as those supporters of slavery then and now, we each will give the accounts of our own transactions while on this earthly plane. As for me, I ought to be too busy taking my own inventory to account for the transactions of others.  

O Loving and Forgiving God,

     Through the inspiration of Your true servant Absalom, we find the graciousness, joy, and reconciliation that should be the hallmarks of every Christian life.  For today, I will give up counting up the faults of others and take on re-framing my thoughts from judgment to tolerance; my actions from thoughtless to reconciling. I will pray for the insight to acknowledge my own faults, the contrite heart to make amends, and the wisdom to think first of God before I act on my own.  amen.  

The Rev. Absalom Jones is celebrated by the Episcopal Church in the U.S. on February 13.

This reprise was originally posted in March 19, 2014.

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